A bit of musical theater history is on the market on New York City’s East End Avenue: a penthouse where Irving Berlin lived for more than a decade.
The two-bedroom, four-bathroom duplex on the corner of East 86th Street was listed for $7.9 million earlier this month.
The legendary composer—whose songs include “Easter Parade,” “God Bless America,” “White Christmas” and “There’s No Business Like Show Business” —lived with his family in the Emery Roth-designed building from 1931 to 1944, according to records. He was “the greatest songwriter that has ever lived,” fellow composer George Gershwin once said.
The penthouse is “very much one-of-a-kind,” said listing agent Jane Andrews of Warburg Realty. “It almost has a quality like you see in old Hollywood movies.”
Black-and-white marble floors, high ceilings and a circular staircase greet guests in the foyer, which leads to a 28-foot corner living room, Ms. Andrews said. Five “huge” windows frame the expansive views.
And not just any views: The penthouse overlooks Carl Schurz Park and the East River. Brooklyn, Queens, Gracie Mansion and the city’s bridges can be seen from both inside the apartment and from its wrap-around terrace.
“There are views from every room,” added Ms. Andrews, who sold the apartment to the current owners 27 years ago.
In addition to the living room, which is lined with built-in bookshelves and has a wood-burning fireplace, the first floor also has a formal dining room and a sunroom. A kitchen and maid’s room are also on the lower level.
The landscaped terrace is accessible from all the rooms on the first floor, an uncommon feature, Ms. Andrews noted. There are also greenhouses outside on the main terrace, she said.
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A master bedroom is on the second level, as well as a second bedroom and sitting room, according to the listing. There are two bathrooms upstairs, in addition to a solarium (which is currently being used as a study) that opens up onto another terrace. There are river views from the upstairs as well.
The doorman building was completed in 1929. Photographer Samuel Herman Gottscho did a series of prints of the apartment during Berlin’s time there, which The Museum of the City of New York has in its collection.
According to records, the house was last on the market, but not sold, in 2012 for $8,495,000. Attorney Hamilton F. Kean was the long-time owner of the penthouse, according to records. Kean died in 2016, and his widow is moving to be closer to family, Ms. Andrews said.
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